Twelve of the 16 NBA Playoff spots have been locked up. Only one spot remains in the Western Conference while six squads are vying for the final three positions in the wide-open Eastern Conference.
And with just one week remaining, a lot still has to be decided as it relates to seeding in each conference.
Let’s take a quick look at the Western Conference Playoff race heading into the season’s final week.
|1||Golden State Warriors||63-15|
|5||Los Angeles Clippers||53-26|
|6||San Antonio Spurs||53-26|
|8||New Orleans Pelicans||42-36|
|9||Oklahoma City Thunder||42-36|
By virtue of possessing the best record in the Association, Golden State will have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. Outside of that, there’s a whole heck of a lot to be decided.
Final Playoff Spot
There are only two teams vying for the last playoff spot. Now that New Orleans holds the head-to-head tiebreaker against Oklahoma City, if the two finish tied for eighth, the Pelicans will earn the final seed and go up against Golden State. Of New Orleans’ final five games, three are against Western Conference Playoff teams—Memphis, Houston at home and San Antonio on the road. Its other two games are at home against Phoenix and on the road against Minnesota. As it relates to the Thunder, they have only one game (at home against Portland) against a team currently in the playoffs.
San Antonio only possesses the sixth seed because it is one-half game behind Houston. This is also coming off the front end of a back-to-back between these two teams that saw the Spurs upend Houston 110-98 in San Antonio on Wednesday night. The two will play against Friday in Houston—a game that could decide who wins the Southwest Division and earns home-court in the first round.
San Antonio and Houston could also earn the second seed. The latter is tied with Memphis while the former is a half game back entering the final week of the season.
There isn’t much more to look at as it relates to seeding here. Dallas is locked into the seventh spot and will face one of the three teams mentioned above that earns the Southwest Division title. Based on clinching the Northwest Division, Portland has locked up home-court and the likely fourth seed. However, it would take a minor miracle to earn the third seed and finish with a better record than two of the three teams in the Southwest. Interestingly enough, Portland will be the only team in its division earning a playoff spot unless Oklahoma City nabs the final seed.
If the Playoff Started Today
(1) Warriors vs (8) Pelicans
(4) Blazers vs (5) Clippers
(2) Grizzlies vs (7) Mavericks
(3) Rockets vs (6) Spurs
These are just potential matchups if the season were to end today. There is still a lot to be decided. With that said, Golden State will definitely play either Oklahoma City or New Orleans in the first round. The winner of the Southwest Division will also take on Dallas. The Blazers-Clippers series is also almost etched in stone at this point.
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